Yet another vegan blog. Obsessed with cookies. Addicted to peanut butter. Fighting for the vegan revolution!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Tart and sweet - Just like me

On a note unrelated to what I actually baked today, I think I finally perfected my hummus. I like mine bare bones and spicy, and with garlic you will be tasting for days. Really, I am still burping garlic today. My ingredients: one can of chickpeas, one tablespoon tahini, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt, approximately 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of dried garlic flakes (I just shook the container, I didn't measure it) and water added for desired thickness. Perfection.

Now on to today's endeavors...

Thursday night I happened upon the most beautiful, bright, ruby red rhubarb I have ever seen. So beautiful, yet so expensive. I only bought two stalks, but that was plenty. Since I am the only person I know that likes the tang of rhubarb, I made only a half batch of muffins, and froze the rest of the rhubarb. I went to the only rhubarb muffin recipe I will ever need, from ExtraVeganZa - Rhubarb Pecan(less) Muffins (I'm not big on nuts). Previously seen here. They were made with all whole wheat pastry flour and agave nectar instead of maple syrup. The book says to bake for 30 minutes, but mine were done in about 23 minutes. Hmm.

It kind of looks like it is floating, eh?

The picture is working my tastebuds into a frenzy. Moist and tart. The way they should be.

To distract myself from their beauty, I made Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from The Joy of Vegan Baking. I have tried a lot of oatmeal cookies. A LOT. I have searched for the perfect oatmeal cookie, and I think I found it. Chewy and sweet and delusionally healthy (they have bran in them!). I got a perfect half batch out of it, 21 cookies. I added chocolate chips along with the raisins, and used sucanat for brown sugar. I think it was really the ratio of brown sugar to granulated sugar that made these.

Death Row: Where Cookies Prepare to Meet Their Maker('s stomach).

I have many more pics, but for some reason my camera was not in focus and they all came out blurry. Sure, the camera pretended like it was focusing, but it didn't.

Not all the cookies. Somebody (not me, I swear) snuck up behind me while I was wearing headphones and made off with cookies. They are so good, people are ashamed of how many they will eat. I must share this one:

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

(this is for a half batch, approx. 21 cookies)

1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed, equiv. to one egg
3 Tablespoons water
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated, non-dairy butter, softened (Earth Balance works best for me)
3/4 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1/8 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup oat bran (I used wheat bran instead)
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup non-dairy chocolate chips (my addition)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly oil 3 cookies sheets or line with parchment paper.

In a blender or food processor, whip together the flaxseed and water until thick and creamy. The consistency will be somewhat gelatinous. By hand or using an electric hand mixer, cream together the butter, sugars, vanilla and flaxseed mixture until well blended.

In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine the flour, oat bran, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add to the butter mixture and mix until well blended and smooth. Stir in the rolled oats and raisins (and chocolate chips if using) until thoroughly combined.

Use a tablespoon to scoop up some dough and, with lightly greased hands, lightly press the cookies to form 1/2 inch thick rounds. Bake until the cookies are golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes (it took only 10 minutes for me). Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to firm up for a few minutes while still on the cookie sheet. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Eat, eat, eat!

Friday, March 21, 2008

More cookies. Did you expect anything else?

I like when baking has a purpose. Sure, baking for the sake of a sugar fix is great, but having a reason to make something is even better - and what better reason than a holiday?

Do you know, there was not one shamrock-shaped cookie cutter within a 20 mile radius of me? Believe me, I looked. And looked. I left no stone, uh, store, unturned. I fumed. I pouted. In the end, I just got all Martha Stewart on the cookies.

I cut out a shamrock stencil and make sprinkle designs on the sugar cookies. I cut the cookies out with a flower shaped cutter. You do what you have to do.

I used the same sugar cookie I always do, off the PPK, and got 15 good sized cookies. As always, very popular at work.

While hopped up on jelly beans, I decided that they would be great in something (other than my stomach). Some of my best ideas are induced by sugar. Anywho, lately I have been feeling neglectful of my VWaV, so I wanted to make something I haven't yet. I used the Macadamia Nut Blondies recipe, and instead of nuts used SweeTart Jelly Beans and left off the caramel topping. It was an interesting experiment that turned out really good! I was expecting failure. I don't know why, because candy makes everything better. Here's the good:

In the pan, nothing special, but out of the pan...

Look at the colors! Preeeeeeeetty.
Artsy. The blondies were chewy and delicious. The jelly beans melted, so when you bit into the blondie, you got little bursts of sugary goo. It was much better than that description makes it sound. Surprisingly well received at work.

And to bring it all together, I made banana nut muffins. Not just any muffins...
Bunny-shaped muffins! Ha! I got the pan at Goodwill last month. Who would give up such a thing?
Straight outta the oven, not so bunny-like.
You can kind of tell it's a bunny, right? The recipe I used is my favorite go-to banana bread, the Lower Fat Banana Bread from V-con, with walnuts added. I was out of applesauce (okay, it was old and moldy - I don't use it much) so I used extra banana in its place. Moist and banana-y.

Gratuitous kitty shot:

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Walk with me won't you?

It's a beautiful day outside, why sit at the computer? Let's go for a walk at the park!

What a nice view.
Should we roll down the rocky hillside or take the steps? Steps? Wussy.

Oh, look. They painted the bridge. Not bad.

I could have sworn there used to be more trees here. When did they tear them down? Yes, it has been while since I have been to the park.

I like how the river sparkles in the sun.

This bridge could really use a colorful paint job.

Oh. I spoke too soon.

They will shamelessly promote popular university sports anywhere they can. Oh, and spread positive messages about loving your neighbor.

It would appear a pack of Cub Scouts got a hold of this bridge. They sure do like to paint bridges around here.

A waterfall. Ha.

Cloudy water closeup.
Pond scum!

Oh, jeez. We have to walk back up these? I better have buns of steel when this is over. Let's go back to my place and make cookies. No that's not a euphemism, I really mean that I want to make cookies.

Peanut Butter Bombs from My Sweet Vegan.

Two of my bombs 'sploded. There were no casualties.

Blurry, but delicious inside shot. I defused that bomb with two bites.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

More cookies, more snow

Here in Tennessee, we have the wackiest weather. I'm sure everyone says that about where they live though. We're currently under a winter storm warning. In March. Yeah.

My miniature daffodils just bloomed Thursday.

In food related matters, last week I made my first recipe from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan, Walnut Carob Cranberry Clusters. That is a mouthful of words for such a small cookie. I wanted to try these because they are sweetened with agave nectar only. I didn't make any changes other than using half carob chips and half semi-sweet chips. I was taking them to work and I didn't want to throw carob all up in their faces. I wanted to sneak it in there. It must have worked because I heard no complaints and they were gone within hours. They were sweet and crunchy, but I am just not a fan of crunchy cookies. Southerners like their shit crunchy, so I could have char-broiled the cookies and they would still be licking their lips.

These cookies were working it. Definitely the most photogenic cookies I have ever met.

Look at those chunks! Those cookies got back! Okay, now I have that Sir Mix-A-Lot song in my head.

That's the last one. Promise.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

I've got the fever!

Spring Fever! I smell it in the air, feel it in my's there. It has caused me to bake in a "theme".

Last week I set about making a box o' happiness for a friend, just because I haven't mailed her anything in a while and she and her family are my biggest (baked good) fans. The real stand-out for me were these:

Citrus. Citrus fruits just scream "spring" to me.

They are Orange Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cookies, a variation on the Chocolate Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies in Veganomicon. I halved the recipe, getting a perfect 18, and used orange extract in place of the almond. I also chopped up a Chocolove Dark Chocolate with Orange Peel bar in place of chocolate chips. The orange flavor remained subtle and not over powering. They were so fudgey. Basically they tasted like orange flavored Tootsie Rolls, from what I remember anyways.

Up close, and wonderful:

The next recipe was necessitated by an omen. I happened to have, precisely, the exact amount of Oreos to make the Cookies and Cream Pound Cake from My Sweet Vegan. Fourteen Oreos. That was a sign. They also happened to be the yellow creme "spring" Oreos, so there is little flecks of yellow in the cake.

It's the only picture I took, and it is blurry and does it no justice. I forgot to take another after I removed it from the pan. I was nervous about sending it. I tasted the batter, which was awesome, but I didn't get to test the finished product. There was no need for worry. Two days later when my friend received it, it was nice and moist and perfect. Okay, she said it was orgasmic, and that she had already devoured half of it before she even called me. There was moaning involved. Anywho, the only change I made was to use Toffutti Better Than Sour Cream in place of soy yogurt because I never have soy yogurt in my house. There was a broad range for the baking time, anywhere from 40-50 minutes. Mine took about 45 minutes.

Lastly, I turned to My Sweet Vegan again to make Coffee Break Shortbread. I don't drink coffee, but I love coffee-flavored things. Now I know why I don't need to develop a coffee habit: one of these cookies gave me a buzz. A serious buzz. I am a caffeine addict. I drink energy drinks everyday and they do nothing for me. And then one little cookie lights me up. That being said, these are good.

Ducks, bunnies and turtles! So "spring-ish"! I guess I got about 15. Towards the end of rolling and cutting I got tired of it and just rolled the rest of the dough into balls and flattened them. I also used Swiss Chocolate Hazelnut Coffee. If you look closer, one of the bunnies had an accident...

and he lost his head. Poor bunny.

Look! A fully intact bunny! Happy ending!

Here's some pictures of what snow looks like at 4 am.

Dear Mr. Winter, can you let up a little bit? This is Tennessee. Last time I checked this was the south. The flowers and the trees say that it is Spring, maybe you should get together with them and talk this through. Thanks! Love, Lauren